July 16th, 2009
01:11 PM ET
11 years ago

Republican takes on Obama's 'czars'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.bowalk0716.gi.jpg caption="Some Republicans in the House wants to defund President Obama's 'czars.'"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Republican on the House Appropriations Committee is attempting to pull the financial plug on the Obama administration's many "czars."

Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia introduced legislation Wednesday that prohibits use of government funds to pay the salaries or expenses of individuals in the new administration that have been appointed by President Obama without the advice and consent of the Senate. The financial prohibition in the "Czar Accountability and Reform Act (CZAR) of 2009" extends to the staffs of the administration's "czars."

The president has named aides or so-called "czars" with responsibility for a number of areas including energy/climate change, health care reform, enforcement of federal drug laws, and the automotive industry.

Read: Kingston's legislation

The White House declined to comment on Kingston's legislation.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that:

[the president] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

"Why won't the President use transparency and have these people come before the Senate and undergo the constitutionally-mandated process?," Kingston asked in a release announcing his amendment to an appropriations bill.

"It seems President Obama is in the midst of forming a parallel government to push his policies," Kingston also said Wednesday. The Georgia Republican added that the positions occupied by Obama's so-called "czars" "duplicate existing Senate-confirmed positions."

Seventeen other House Republicans have joined Kingston in sponsoring the anti-czar bill.

In February, Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia criticized the new administration's use of "czars" to oversee policy in several areas.

"As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president," Byrd wrote in a letter to Obama. "In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Steve


    July 16, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. scott from michigan

    Here's an idea, let's reduce the salary of both the house and senate members, seriously. Under the formula established in the Ethics Reform Act, Members may receive a pay adjustment in January 2009 of 2.8%. that would increase salaries for Members of Congress to $174,000. While their constituants are losing the jobs, homes and life savings, house and senate members receive a raise, so call your senators and representatives and tell them, until the rest of America is back to work, they shouldn't receive a raise.

    July 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. hst

    For the 10,000,000,000,000th time, why was it ok when Bush did it?

    July 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Joane Johnson

    There they go. White man maintaining his control by putting reins on the uppity negro. do they really think thery aren't 'transparent', too. We see you coming a mile away and you speak of Sotomayor and the possiblity of bias in her decisions when we all know white men have been bias in the laws written. You never say it, you enact it.

    July 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Minuteman

    Obama has become America’s FIRST DICTATOR!

    November 4, 2008 is a day that will go down in infamy as the day the American people, unbeknownst to them, elected the FIRST MARXIST SOCIALIST government in the history of the United States
    It is time for the people of America to STAND UP for our freedom and liberty, and demand that Obama be impeached and removed from office!

    July 16, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. I give up

    win the house in 2010, then shut this guy and his shadow government down!

    July 16, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Enlightened Voter

    If President Obama had a gun czar the rethuglicans would support that, it's just stuff that's going to help the average citizen that they don't want to support.

    July 16, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Bobsy

    It's about time. obama tells CEos that they have to buckle down and watch cost, but that does not apply to him. he can hire anyone with no accountability and you and I are paying for it. He is a COMPLETE joke.

    Liberals will have a very hard time admitting they made a mistake and I understand that. It's a pride thing. But eventually, the wall will fall and liberals will say...we screwed up and we need a new Democrat candidate for President in 2012.

    July 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Aaron

    So Mr Kingston doesn't think tackling the problems of energy/climate change, health care reform and enforcement of federal drug laws is important? Well then, we should just stop worrying about climate change and keeping sending billions to our enemies and destroy our economy and our planet. Sounds brilliant! And let's not worry about drugs so kids can start taking them and failing out of a school system that doesn't work properly. That way our society will be uneducated and on drugs. Mr Kingston should be president, he's brillian. NOT.

    July 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Jeff in Atlanta

    All the czars, all at the taxpayers expense.
    obama thinks he's king and doesn't have to answer to anyone, that when he says jump, everyone should just jump without question.
    Most dimocrats do but thankfully others, and even now some democrats, are wising up and starting to ask questions.

    It's about time!!!!!

    One and done obama. Can't wait! Let's just hope there's enough pieces to pick up.

    July 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Kansan

    Republican's in general will pull the plug on anything and everything the Obama administration does in hopes that his administration fails, no matter what the cost...they would turn the U.S. into a third world country if it meant getting their precious power back...that's all they care about.

    July 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. JW

    Yeah, I suppose we shouldn't pay anyone to actually do something.

    July 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Sam I Am

    How quickly the Republicans forget. Bush appointed several czars, and tried to appoint a couple of others, specific to his wars, but there were no takers. And I would venture to say that Rove was the Czar of dirty tricks and deceit. Sorry, Repubs, you started it. Now grow up, and do something meaningful, or we Americans, the people you work for, will lay you off, so you get a taste of the economy you created.

    July 16, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. bess

    Yup. Obama's 'Hope and Change' really meant "I HOPE you won't mind while I CHANGE how our constitution was designed to work."

    Yes, previous president's have had czar's you could count on one hand with several fingers leftover. Obama's czar count staggers the imagination and ignores basic tenet of our country.

    July 16, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. European-American

    All politics aside. Czars- Are they constitutional or not? They do not have to go through any hearings and yet we give them alot of power.
    As an American I do not like the idea. Anyone else care to weigh in?

    July 16, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. ron

    Really? Can someone please explain to me how exactly the republican party contributes to improving the country.

    July 16, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Tim P

    Kinston is another GOP douche bag. Keep it coming GOP you wont win a national election for a 100 years.

    July 16, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Bob in Pa

    It's about time !
    It has been said said he first apointed them, that
    these Czars are not operating within the bounds of the Constitution.

    And with as many problems as his actual appointments had, can you imagine what lies under the covers of those hired under the cover of darkness.

    Good luck on getting it to the floor Jack!

    July 16, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. A. Goodwin

    I'm sure Obama would be open to a vetting process – not like Rethuglican's can filibuster an appointment anyway.

    Where were these Republican's when Bush and his cronies were acting "above the law".

    Another sign of Republican hypocracy.

    July 16, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. No more GOP!

    Was this idiot asking all these question and introducing this legislation when the previous administration was in office? Is that why our country is so screwed up now?

    July 16, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Joe Mag

    Wait... so the acronym of this bill is CZAR? Even though the CZ from it is short for Czar? Can be we introduce a bill that will ban politicians from using ridiculous acronym. It shall be called ACRONYM short for the ACRimonious Omission of Naming Your bills Mandate.

    July 16, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Pete

    Funny. Karl Rove wasn't confirmed by the Senate, and he directed policy in all sorts of departments of government. Huh.

    July 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. A Democrat gone Republican in 2009

    If George W. Bush had created such an establishment of Czars surrounding him without Senate approval, would not the Democrats have filed a similar legislation?

    I thought we were going to have change we could believe in, and change that would be bipartisan--and certainly change .... with Senate, House, and even The People's approval.

    What's going on?

    July 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Eleanor

    Hahahahaha! Deese Republithugs done loss their mind!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Chris - Albany, NY

    I'm in agreement with the Republicans on this one...what's up with the "czars" ?


    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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